Philly cop killings lead nation

February 17, 2009 7:02:47 AM PST
Monday night a community Mass was held to say farewell, but first to remember the life and good works of Philadelphia police officer John Pawlowski, shot and killed Friday night at Broad and Olney.

While the church service was underway, Action News has tracked a disturbing trend. And that is, that if you're a cop, Philadelphia is the most dangerous major city in America. Statistics compiled by Action News using data from each department show that a Philadelphia officer by far is more likely to be killed by gunfire than any major city in the nation. And ground zero for police killings is the 35th district, which has now lost two officers.

It was a standing room only crowd, in fact overflowing outside St. Anselm's church for a mass honoring officer John Pawlowski. It is the church where Pawlowski & his wife Kim were parishioners. The family released a photo of the couple taken during their honeymoon and the officer's brother who's a corporal in the police radio room issued a prepared statement.

"This is obviously a difficult and trying time for our families. We all ask for your good thoughts, your prayers for Johnnie, for Kimmie, and for their future child," said Cpl. Bob Pawlowski.

Officer Pawlowski was the 7th officer to be killed in the line of duty in Philadelphia since 2007, the 5th by gunfire, leading all of the nation's major cities. By comparison, statistics show that during the same time period, Chicago PD lost 3 officers, all of them by gunfire, NYPD 3, all of them also by gunfire and LAPD 2 officers, 1 by gunfire.

By taking into account each department's population of officers that means that roughly one Philadelphia officer is killed by gunfire per 1300 officers. That's roughly 3 times more likely than in Chicago, 9 times more likely than LAPD and 11 times more likely than being a member of NYPD.

"This is a highly unusual situation. I don't think we've seen anything like it anywhere else in the country. There seems to be no rhyme or reason," said Mayor Michael Nutter.

Presently no one has been able to explain why Philadelphia has become the most dangerous major city for cops, but Mayor Nutter promises to double his efforts to address the major underlying issues he believes are contributing to the pattern.

"This is not about statistics this is about people, about evil behavior, it's about personal responsibility and people are going to have to pay for what they do," Mayor Nutter said.

Complete list of officers killed in large cities since 2007:

Philadelphia PD
7 officers
5 by gunfire

Chicago PD
3 officers
3 by gunfire

NYPD
3 officers
3 by gunfire
(8 others lost to 9-11 related illnesses)

LAPD
2 officers
1 by gunfire

Miami PD/Miami-Dade
2 officers
2 by gunfire

Houston PD
3 officers
1 by gunfire

Dallas PD
2 officers
1 by gunfire

New Orleans
3 officers
2 by gunfire

Atlanta-Dekalb County
2 by gunfire

Washington DC Metro
1 officer
0 by gunfire

Baltimore City, MD
1 by gunfire

Source: The Officer Down Memorial Page, Inc.

Rate of Death by Gunfire

Philadelphia PD
1 officer killed per 1300

Chicago PD
1 officer killed per 4500

LAPD
1 officer killed per 9000

NYPD
1 officer killed per 11,000

*Per Police Dept. Population

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